The Obama Administration’s relationship with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, has grown beyond strictly Muslim-related issues. On May 6, Vice President Biden met with about 20 interfaith leaders including ISNA President Mohamed Magid for two hours to rally religious support for gun control.
A FBI source identified ISNA as a Muslim Brotherhood front as early as 1987. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo identified ISNA as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends” for use in its “work in America as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”
Federal prosecutors labeled ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Brotherhood “charity” housed within the ISNA building that was found to be financing Hamas. The U.S. government specifically called ISNA a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.
The President of ISNA is Imam Mohamed Magid. In 2004, he reacted to the U.S. government’s investigations and prosecutions of groups like the Holy Land Foundation by claiming they were part of an anti-Muslim agenda. He said that parts of the U.S. government are “intent on dismantling Muslim organizations and bringing them down.”
He was among those that met with Vice President Biden to discuss the legislation mandating background checks for gun sales. Several more Obama Administration officials including Biden’s chief of staff were also there.
Other interfaith leaders at the meeting included Franklin Graham of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religion Action Center of Reform Judaism; Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Pastor Michael McBride of PICO National Network and Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.
Gun control isn’t the only political issue that the Obama Administration seeks ISNA’s support on. On March 8, Magid met with President Obama and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett for 90 minutes about immigration reform. About 10 other interfaith leaders were there. Only three days later, Magid again met with President Obama to offer “recommendations” for his trip to the Middle East.
Magid also was a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group and the Faith-based Security and Communications Advisory Committee. His group also met with the FBI Director regarding the agency’s review of its counter-terrorism training materials.
The Obama Administration treats ISNA as the leader of the Muslim-American community, even though only 4% of Muslim-American males and 7% of females chose ISNA as the group that best represents them in a 2011 poll. In March, the Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement said ISNA is his top Muslim outreach partner.
The U.S. Air Force even has a partnership with ISNA. ClarionProject.org discovered that the Air Force Chaplain Corps paid ISNA nearly $5,000 for two advertisements in its magazine.
A spokesperson for the ISNA defended the transaction, saying “The Islamic Society of North America is one of many religious organizations recognized by the Department of Defense that satisfy the ecclesiastical requirements to endorse qualified religious ministry professionals to serve as chaplains within the Military Departments.”
Absent from these consultations with the Obama Administration are Muslim groups and activists proud of their anti-Islamist track records. This also represents a victory for ISNA and its allies. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), ISNA’s fellow U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, is trying to marginalize the American Islamic Congress for being a component of the so-called “Islamophobia Network.”
Despite this background, ISNA is connected to the highest levels of the Obama Administration and has formed close political alliances with a range of churches and synagogues. Amazingly, there is footage of the Director of ISNA’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances saying in 2006, “our job is to change the constitution of America.”
Apparently, for some, words like those don’t disqualify you as an interfaith partner.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
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